Biospeleology of the Piemonte
(North-western Italy)

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Arthropoda, Arachnida, Pseudoscorpiones

Arachnida, Pseudoscorpiones, Syariniidae, Pseudoblothrus ellingseni (Beier, 1929) - This troglobite species, is described for the Bossea Cave, for the artificial galleries called "of Napoleon" (near the road that climb to the Tenda Pass) and for the Valenza's Hole (1009 Pi/CN) in the high Po Valley, commune of Crissolo. This species is an endemite of the south-western Alps, adapted to cold caves, with scarce food resources. Pseudoblothrus is a genus widespread from the Pyrenees to the Swiss Alps that groups only troglobite species, very specialized, with estremely thin and lengthened appendages. The pseudoscorpions are usually active predators, but exist adaptations of the cavernicole life as guanobite (or predators of guanobite organisms) that depend, therefore, from the presence of the bats. In ten years of assiduous search in the Bossea Cave, the author don't have yet captured specimens of this species; from the literature we learn that this Arachnids was relatively frequent in this cave about 30 or 40 years ago. We should hypotesize that the lack of the bats in the Bossea Cave (mainly due to the massive tourist exploitation) could have caused the regression of the population of these Arachnids that are instead relatively frequent in the Napoleon's Galleries (the specimen in the illustrations has been photographed in this artificial subterraneans). Another hypothesis about the rarity of this organisms in the Bossea Cave should be the accidental introduction of insects Cholevidae of the species Parabathyscia dematteisi, that escaped from the subterranean laboratory in 1970s and that have colonized the cavity, generating probably a phenomenon of indirect competition against the pseudoscorpions, maybe ousting from its ecological niche another saprophage species that was usually predated by these Arachnids. Real size of the body: 5-6 mm.

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